When you are young and under your parents’ care: You learn to love them in response to how they love you. You attempt to take advantage of them in the hopes that you can train them to spoil you, which they willingly do. You defy them just because. You push the limits knowing that they will be there to prevent you from going over the cliff. As you become a young adult, you discriminate for yourself what is useful and valuable in what they have taught you from among the many adults as well as peers who influence you. By the time you are prepared to leave your parents’ tutelage, you have received from your them all that you will need to be successful: self-confidence, self-esteem, the ability to think for yourself, the moral compass to make proper decisions, the facility to develop healthy interpersonal relationships, and the skills required to deal with the new authority relationships you will encounter.
When you are FINALLY away from them, no longer accountable to them, and are responsible for yourself, you appreciate just how much you relied upon them and how much they never fail you.
When they are gone, it is the memories of them that allow this pain to be tolerable.